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After my husband’s third time coming home from work after 9:00 p.m. last week, we discussed the need for more work-life balance. I think many people are like him, where their work schedule is running the whole show. I recently sat down with Detroit-based life coach and yoga instructor Brian Granader to ask for suggestions on how stressed out people can achieve more work-life balance. Here’s part of our conversation:
Q: Do you think lack of balance is becoming more common in our busy society?
BG: Yes. Very rarely does it seem like we’re able to achieve balance, because life always continues to happen. I sometimes see people come to yoga class because they’re having a hard time with balance. And the things they learn in class help them feel better. Maintaining a regular practice is really important no matter whether you’re feeling lousy or good.
Q: What has caused our lives to get out of balance?
BG: I think our success in life seems to be rated by financial gain and material possessions, instead of our physical and emotional health. So we are focused on work and other things instead of our level of happiness.
Q: Why is it Important to maintain good work-life balance?
BG: Most of our day is spent in a “doing” state of mind. We’re very goal-oriented, and we tend to move very fast through our day. But unfortunately, we spend very little time in a “being” state of mind. This is where we want to be because this state allows us to appreciate things in life more fully and have balance. We have to build our mental muscle to get good at being, because it can improve our spiritual practice, home life and other areas of our lives.
Q: How does a lack of balance affect our relationships?
BG: Beyond the potential health problems, when a person is more balanced, their relationships tend to be better and their work life tends to be less stressful. People should ask themselves, “Am I happy in my relationships? What am I doing to make my relationships better?” Part of making relationships better is making your relationship with yourself better and getting in tune with yourself.
Q: How does a person start on the path to greater balance?
BG: I think a person has to first be sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then, at that point, they’ll make the time to step away from work and away from obligations to get quiet, get into a practice and heal. This practice may look different for every person. Even if you can set aside one weekend a month to recharge or take a long weekend, that is a great start!
Q: What are some simple things people can do to maintain balance?
BG: From a yoga perspective, focus on breathing and learn a short meditation that you can do every day. Try to make time for 10 minutes of physical activity and two minutes of meditation a few times a week. Look closely at your priorities in your life. I encourage people to go walking outside in nature or pick up a yoga DVD that they can do at home. You can also join a gym or just do anything aerobic. Our bodies are designed for movement, not designed to sit. It’s also important to find an accountability partner to help keep you encouraged.
Q: Any last thoughts you want to share?
BG: We work very hard at our job to achieve certain goals. Shouldn’t we put the same amount of effort toward our physical health? Why not put the same dedication into something that brings you happiness and better health?
To learn more about Brian Granader’s health and fitness classes or DVDs, visit his web site at RedLotusYoga.com.